What Are The Basics Of Surveying?
Know the difference between fieldwork and office work
There’s a reason survey technicians are paid more than others—the job is demanding. Day in and day out, they have to gather data and information and put it all together into reports that can be used by decision makers.
Since the role of surveys is to provide data for business decisions, then higher level managers (who make these decisions) need to hire professionals who will focus on their jobs.
Office assistants and workers don’t necessarily get hired because they want to do the job, they get hired because someone else wants to pay them money to do it.
If you aren’t interested in becoming an employee yourself, then consider getting your own salary as a freelancer. Markets always open for people who perform specific tasks efficiently.
That includes not just marketing specialists but also personnel specialist or consultants. Some of the best payroll services are run by independent contractors.
Gather information for a survey
A whole host of questions can be asked during a professional survey. Some examples include the following:
How would you rate your overall health?
What is your biggest complaint about your healthcare provider/healthcare system?
Are there other providers you know who perform better than you do at their job?
When was the last time you went to the doctor that didn’t make you feel like scratching him or her?
Who are your favorite doctors?
Which medical facility offers the best service and care for you?
Where might I find a qualified expert in nutrition?
Would this person say that they treat you with respect, listen to what you have to say, and help develop solutions to any issues you may have?
Keep all information confidential
During your survey, anyone who counts votes should understand that they are obligated to keep each individual’s vote secret. If a voter prefers one candidate over another, their privacy is more important than having open discussion about candidates.
Voters can be embarrassed by their choices or seen as biased if their ballot reveals anything else. It’s also illegal in some states for individuals to reveal their voting preferences.
States such as California and Hawaii require someone to provide valid proof of identity before filing any reports with the state. Having personal identification is a basic requirement for opening a bank account.
Do not break the law
The basics of surveying require that you do not violate any laws or regulations. Specifically, you can’t threaten, harass, abuse, mislead, divert from facts, falsify data, or conceal information during your survey.
These restrictions apply regardless of whether you are conducting an online interview, walking through streets with a notebook and a headset, or stopping people in public places to ask them questions.
Violation of these rules is illegal and could make you end up in jail. No matter how unlikely this seems to be, it’s best to avoid situations where police officers, judges, or other authority figures might find you at fault.
Furthermore, unauthorized surveys are private property, and you don’t have permission to pollute (or otherwise alter) their environment, including but not limited to landfills, rivers, lakes, and parks.
Surveys designed to collect personal information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses must comply with the federal Fair Information Practices Act.
The FIPA ensures that when companies conduct voluntary surveys using web-based methods, they provide respondents with adequate notice about what will happen to the respondent's information, for how long it will be kept, and who else may receive it.
Read and agree on a contract
There are many different contracts used for surveying, but they all have similar provisions regarding what will be done and how results will be delivered. For your project, you may choose to have only one contract or maybe create your own with several clauses put in it.
You also need to decide who will be responsible for what elements of the survey process. Is someone accountable for costs? Will others get credit for surveys that they complete correctly? These decisions must be made before you can ask people to do things.
For example, gather estimates from multiple contractors to set a price tag for jobs. Or team up with other businesses for competitive advantages. But remember, this is your project; save money where you can.
Provide written confirmation
When you call your survey, ask for a written estimate. There are several good reasons to do this over email or in person.
An actual piece of paper is better than an electronic record because it can be easily preserved and there’s no way to guarantee that it will read correctly one day. Also, surveys vary in how they input information into them so it’s helpful to have a hard copy as evidence of what was said.
Email often doesn’t capture the tone of the conversation well enough to use as proof of anything. Phone calls can be ignored or missed completely, which makes emails poor alternatives to physical letters or other communication styles.
In-person interviews are best used for getting a detailed description of something. They work very well when you need information on a specific topic, with a trained interviewer who can ask pertinent questions.
But asking people whether something is free or not doesn’t fall under that category, does it?
Prepare a report
Knowing what to include in your survey is key to get reliable results. In fact, studies have shown that missing information can be as important as having inaccurate data.
An accurate audit depends upon assessing all relevant information for each subject being surveyed. Thus, it’s essential to prepare a thorough written report for each item being checked.
This way you will be able to describe in detail what each question was about, how long it took, whom it affected, and any conclusions or notes you made during the investigation.
Furthermore, you should try to keep your reports consistent throughout so things isn’t missed when reviewing them.
In this manner, surveys don’t contain duplicated information nor confusing inconsistencies. The report also serves as an excellent summary introduction to recount the questions asked and discussed within its boundaries.
It summarizes the findings with respect to each topic covered by the questionnaire. These boundary limits are critical because they define the scope into which analysis will unfold.
Without setting defined bounds, researchers may choose to examine unrelated topics as well as significant ones. Such issues could involve violating legal jurisdiction requirements or simply wasting time.
Know your client’s budget
When a potential survey respondent hears “budget,” their brain may immediately think about what amount they can spend on a lunch date or vacation getaway. You certainly want to give respondents the ability to understand how much this project will cost before they begin.
But you also need to ask yourself if you want them to know that it will cost hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars — there is no right way to do this.
It depends on the quantity of people you are asking as well as the length of the question. For example, if you are only calling on phone numbers and email addresses, then making the price very obvious is less important.
If you are talking about in-person interviews where participants could easily check out notes or remember details, then pricing information is almost impossible to omit.
Know your equipment
For starters, you’ll need to own or have access to a tripod. You can also buy a clamp that locks onto specifically designed tripods called jibs. There are different types of clamps and attachments for various purposes.
Next, you’ll need something to hold the instrument steady while taking measurements. This can be as simple as tightening a couple of bolts on top of a metal stake we use in construction. Ball joints and screws make it possible to adjust the height of the stake.
Finally, you’ll need an indicator to tell you when you have stretched or lowered your hand beyond what is considered standard protocol. This kind of stopwatch device can be purchased at any medical supply store or online.